Archive for June, 2011

This year’s Awards to Artists go to…

Every year my colleagues and I look forward to celebrating up-and-coming and established artists in our event wherein the year’s recipients discuss their work and goals. I anxiously anticipate it every year, and this year was no exception. We were lucky enough to have two representatives of the DeGolyer and Kimbrough families, and that’s always a delight for the winners to meet them and show their gratitude.

Recipients of both the The Clare Hart DeGolyer Memorial Fund and The Arch and Anne Giles Kimbrough Fund have gone on to lead immensely successful careers as The Otis and Velma Davis Dozier Travel Grant recipients have continued on securing exhibitions, commissions and accessioning of their works in major public and private collections. Awards to Artists grants have been presented to more than 235 artists. Over the course of the past 31 years in the case of the DeGolyer and Kimbrough Awards, and 21 years in the case of Dozier, the DMA has acquired works by many of the recipients. See for yourself!

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To all nine of the 2011 Awards to Artists recipients: Lindsey Allgood, Diedrick Brackens, Kasumi Chow, Sarah Zapata, Xxavier Edward Carter, Kerry Pacillio, Edward Setina, Joshua Goode, and Kevin Todora – CONGRATULATIONS!

Erin Murphy is the Curatorial Assistant for Contemporary Art at the Dallas Museum of Art

Seldom Scene: If You Build It

Many months of planning go into the presentation of each DMA exhibition. Mark Bradford will not open until October 16, but work on the exhibition design is already underway.


Summer Seminar 2011: Teaching for Creativity

Every June, the Dallas Museum of Art and the University of Texas at Dallas host a week-long seminar for teachers. This year’s topic was Teaching for Creativity. Through creative thinking, conversations, and experiences in the galleries, participants created useful classroom scenarios to nurture creativity in students…and ourselves.

There were many highlights in the course. One highlight was a creativity challenge. Participants worked in teams and were given a variety of materials. They selected a contemporary work of art and created a new work of art inspired by the object. Afterwards, each group explained their creative process. This linked creative classroom techniques with works of art and gave teachers new ideas to use in the classroom. What are some ways that you have use creativity in the classroom?

We also spent extended time with works of art in the galleries. Looking closely at Manjusri, participants asked questions about the work of art and, together, generated ideas about the object. Some things that the group explored with Manjusri include:

  • What do the gestures on the object signify?
  • Where would this object have been used?
  • How does the creativity of the artist emerge from the object?
  • How does the object’s material display artistic creativity?

Below are images of the seminar. I hope you enjoy seeing the creative process  of the participants! See you at next year’s seminar.

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Amy Wolf
Coordinator of Gallery Teaching

Month at the Museum

Ever wonder what it would be like to live at a Museum?  If you read From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler as a child, like I did, you may have envied Claudia and Jamie Kincaid and their adventures living in The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago made this idea a reality with Month at the Museum.  They invited Kate McGroarty to live at the Museum around the clock for a month, and are accepting applications for another month-long residence later this year.  Check their web site for more details.

What would you  most look forward to if you could live at the Dallas Museum of Art for one month?

Melissa Nelson
Manager of Teaching in the Community

Arturo’s Kids Club at the Dallas Museum of Art

Hi! I’m Arturo, the family mascot at the Dallas Museum of Art. Have we met? I’m a bright, colorful Peruvian bird and I am based off a ceramic vessel in the DMA’s collection from Peru that is over 1,000 years old! I’m planning on heading to the next Kids Club event and thought I would tell you all about my soon-to-be adventure. The next Kids Club event is on July 23 at the Museum of Nature and Science, and it’s the perfect Dallas event for kids just like you!

Before, I tell you about my plans for my visit, maybe I should explain Kids Club. Kids Club is a group you can join at the Sustainer level membership. We partner with the Dallas Zoo, the Museum of Nature and Science, the Trinity River Audubon Center, the Dallas Arboretum, and the Crow Collection of Asian Art. Each organization hosts an event each year. That means I fly to five off-site events and then I host one at home, here at the DMA. If I miss the event, I can still go to the Zoo or Arboretum and use my membership discount. As a bird, I don’t have much room for pocket money, so I like to save when I can!

The adventure will start with a brainstorming meeting with the DMA’s education staff. They help me with my activity. Like all the other organizations, I have to take a fun, crafty activity that will appeal to all ages. Last time, I took wands on my fairytale adventure to the Dallas Arboretum. They were really popular. I think moms and dads like to decorate as much as kids!

Once I get my materials and learn how to make the activity with my wings, I’m ready to go! I’ll get to the Museum of Nature and Science about 8:30 a.m. so I can set up for a 9:00 a.m. opening. Then, for the next two hours, I help kids make something special to take home.

By 11:00 a.m. I’m exhausted. I then have to find bird food (I like sunflower seeds) and then I’ll need a nap in Arturo’s Nest in C3!

Arturo is the mascot for all Museum family programming. He makes appearances on First Tuesdays and Late Nights; you can also find him on all family related print materials and temporary tattoos. He had a bit of help with this post from Wendi Kavanaugh, Member Outreach Manager.

Friday Photos: Let's Get Ornithological!

Over the past few weeks, whenever I left my house, I was dive-bombed by birds. At first, the experience was surreal and Hitchcockian: an ugly honking sound, and then mockingbirds—always the same two culprits—would take turns swooping just inches over my head. I wasn’t sure what I’d done to upset them, but this past weekend, I finally solved the mystery. It turns out that my assailants had built a nest in the ivy over my front porch. This is the best image I could get without getting pecked:

Between these hatchlings and the chickens I recently adopted, I’ve been feeling a little bit plagued by birds lately. So I thought I would use this blog post as an opportunity to share some of my favorite bird-related artwork in the DMA’s collection.

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I’m not sure that there’s a figure as ubiquitous in art around the world and across time as that of the bird. The images of birds I’ve selected are only a few of the many that can be found in the museum. What are your favorites?

Tom Jungerberg

IMLS Grant Coordinator

Moments of Epiphany: Talking Creativity with an Educational Psychologist

We were lucky at our last Educator Reading Group to have Dr. Magdalena Grohman as a guest facilitator.  Dr. Grohman is an associate director of the Center for Values in Medicine, Science, and Technology, a lecturer at the School of Behavior and Brain Sciences at the University of Texas, Dallas, and a frequent DMA collaborator.

Dr. Grohman recommended an article from Educational Psychologist titled “Why Isn’t Creativity More Important to Educational Psychologists?  Potentials, Pitfalls, and Future Directions in Creativity Research.”  The reading invited us to reconsider beliefs and ”myths” we might hold about creativity: that creativity is something you either have or you don’t, that there is a singular type of creative person (and they are often outsiders), and that creativity is enhanced within a group.  The article also teased out a definition of creativity based on content analysis of peer-reviewed business, education, and psychology journals.

During our discussion, we thought through our own myths about creativity and the theory and practice of creativity both in our programs and jobs.  How do we talk to students in our programs and classes about creativity and their creative abilities? And how is that different from what they hear from teachers in school?  How do we structure brainstorming sessions, and work in large groups on creative projects?  

We also learned about the science of creativity.  Dr. Grohman, sharing her expertise, helped us look behind our mysterious moments of creative insight to find what’s in play cognitively, that networks of concepts in the memory get flexible (usually as we relax) and we connect remote ideas with one another, metaphorizing, and generating something new.  This cognitive picture of creativity complements the first-person accounts and understandings of creative process we know best—the things we hear artists and writers say to explain their moments of epiphany–that flashes of brilliance come from nowhere, and creativity is something beyond our control. (For more on this, see Elizabeth Gilbert’s excellent TED Talk about creative genius.)

One of the things Dr. Grohman does is provide people with tools and techniques to jump start creative thinking.  She led us in a quick activity after our conversation.  We split into pairs and were asked to make a joint drawing, based on a simple prompt.  As part of the activity we weren’t allowed to talk or in any way communicate with our partner about what we were drawing.  After each pair finished, Dr. Grohman sequenced our artworks, and asked us to create a story to link them together.  Illustrations from our activity and images of participants are in the slideshow below.

Amy Copeland
Coordinator of Go van Gogh Outreach

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Seldom Scene: Word Play

Last week was our first week of Summer Art Camps here at the DMA. Below are photos from our Word Play camp, led by David Herman, Jr. We still have six more weeks of Summer Art Camps. Click here for details.

Photography by Adam Gingrich, Marketing Assistant at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Mavs Madness!

One of the many perks of working at the DMA is being perfectly positioned downtown and within walking distance of yesterday’s Dallas Mavericks’ victory parade.  Amy Copeland, Shannon Karol, DMA Public Relations Specialist Kimberly Daniell, and I walked down to the West End to join in the festivities.  Seeing the joy in the players’ faces and being a part of the energy and excitment was definitely an unforgettable experience!

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 Melissa Nelson
Manager of Teaching in the Community


How to Throw a Block Party

Have you ever wanted to throw a block party but don’t know how to go about it? One of the interesting things about my job is that I now know a lot about what goes into making a good one.

On June 17 we’ll host our third annual Summer Block Party in the Arts District, and I wanted to share a little of the “backstage” planning. The Summer Block Party has always involved the Arts District museums and Downtown Dallas Inc., and this year we are also working with the Dallas Symphony and the AT&T Performing Arts Center.

The first part of planning any big event is getting all the “players” together to discuss ideas and work out the details. Our first Arts District group meeting was the first week of April, and we have had two group meetings since then. Agenda items for these meetings included planning joint programs, discussing street closure logistics, and crafting a marketing plan.

A street performance during a Summer Block Party

After these meetings, the “point person” from each institution goes back “home” to work out the specifics. Here at the DMA we had meetings with our Security, Operations, Membership, and Marketing teams to go over all the details for the DMA’s Late Night, especially the Summer Concert featuring The Polyphonic Spree. Between that first planning meeting in April and the event on June 17, I will have had fourteen internal meetings with various staff members just about this one event.

A past Late Night Summer Concert on Ross Avenue Plaza

Another aspect of throwing a block party is closing the streets between the museums. We do this so we can have programs outside and for the safety of all our visitors, who will be walking back and forth between the institutions. Closing the streets requires a permit from the City, which must be submitted forty-five days before the event. Once we get the okay from the City, we have to secure police officers, outdoor lighting, port-a-potties, and street barricades.

After our programs are confirmed, we then work with our graphic designers and editor to create a schedule of events, which we give to visitors when they arrive that night. We submit text three weeks in advance to give them time to edit and design the schedule, have staff review the schedule, and make any last minute changes before sending it to the printer. We then update our website with all the current information, and our PR department sends out a press release and begins posting on Facebook and Twitter.

Proof for the Late Night Schedule of Events

Lastly, to continue in the tradition of my previous blog post about Late Nights, I thought I would end this post with a new Late Nights by the Numbers list:

272 – number of emails I have sent and received about the Summer Block Party since April

52 – number of performers and artists featured during the June Late Night

7,000 – number of Late Night event schedules printed for this night

6 – number of food trucks that will serve food during the Summer Block Party

2 – number of clues the DMA will tweet for the Museum Art Challenge on Twitter

12 – number of port-a-potties on-site during the Summer Block Party

4 – number of rotating mirror balls that will be used during The Polyphonic Spree concert

Stacey Lizotte is Head of Adult Programming and Multimedia Services.


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